When Evgeny Romanov changed to the Norwegian Chess Federation, the news was widely reported, even though the grandmaster from Kaliningrad is far from a top player. On that occasion Anatoly Karpov was quoted saying those who leave Russia may have problems in the future. Neither frightened by the former world champion’s warning nor noticed by the chess world at large, several of Russia’s most active top players are outside of the country.
Alexander Predke didn’t return from the Grand Prix in Berlin and has instead traveled to Turkey. Dmitry Andreikin didn’t return from the tournament in Belgrade and went to Macedonia where he has been playing for the club Alkaloid since years. Vladimir Fedoseev and Kirill Alekseenko just moved to Spain, following in the footsteps of their friend and colleague Daniil Yuffa. Nikita Vitiugov has also been living in Spain since before the war and doesn’t keep it secret any longer. He told Chesstech with a heavy heart that he currently sees no future in Russia for himself and his child. Grigori Oparin has been a student in Saint Louis since more than two years.
Many top players who are staying in Russia for the time being have condemned the invasion in Ukraine and sent an open letter asking Putin to stop the war. Daniil Dubov has returned to Moscow after making daring statements in an interview with the German news magazine Spiegel. Sergey Karjakin who gained notoriety and a half year ban by FIDE for his anti-Ukrainian statements is rather an exception.
Nikita Vitiugov has been living in Spain since before the war and doesn’t keep it secret any longer. With a heavy heart he says that he currently sees no future in Russia.
World Chess CEO Ilya Merenzon told Chesstech that the company, that organised the Grand Prix, is cutting its connections with Russia. The World Chess Club Moscow is for sale. Its staff has relocated to Berlin, Tbilisi and Israel.
FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich confirmed that he seeks to be reelected for a second term during his recent trip to India to sign contracts for this year’s Chess Olympiad in Mamallapuram. Keeping a Russian at the helm feels odd to many. If Dvorkovich distanced himself from the country he served in government for fifteen years by moving out, he would be virtually guaranteed reelection, Chesstech learned from insiders, but the Russian has firmly denied that leaving is at all an option for him.